NEWPORT, R.I. – Trailing by as many as 12 points with 12:33 remaining in the second half, the Suffolk men's basketball team made a late comeback, but it would not be enough as the Rams fell at Salve Regina, 73-71, Tuesday night at the Rodgers Recreation Center.
Jake Meister matched his career-high 23 points, which he set in the 2015-16 season opener, to lead Suffolk (1-3) for the second time this year. The senior shot 9-of-11 from the floor including of 5-of-6 performance from three-point range. Classmate Caleb Unni pitched in 16 points, on a 50 percent connection rate (6-12) and added five rounds, three steals and one block.
Salve Regina (3-2) received saw four different players notch double figures, led by Bryce Boggs' 16-point, 11-rebound effort.
The Rams finished the night with a 47.3 percentage (47.3) from the field and shot 41.7 percent (10-24) from long range, while the Seahawks connected on 54.7 percent (29-53) of their shots and 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Suffolk called on its bench for an eight-point contribution compared to seven from Salve Regina's reserves.
Right off the tip Suffolk poured in the points and led 26-16 at 11:17. Sean Foster called a timeout to talk things over with the Seahawks and whatever Foster said worked as the hosts outscored the Rams 16-3 over the next six minutes to jump in front, 32-29. Over the final five minutes in the first frame, Salve Regina held its edge and took a 37-32 lead into the half.
The Seahawks opened the scoring in the second stanza and did not let up as they scored five straight to put Suffolk down 43-32. Unni got things going for Suffolk as the senior put in six straight points to cut the lead down to seven with 15:47 left on the clock. Freshman Steven DiPrizio put in a set of free throws to make it a five-point game, but Salve Regina responded with five points of its own and the deficit went back to double digits with just under 14 to play.
After trading hoops, freshman Michael Hagopian sparked an 11-2 Rams' run with a good layup that put the Rams within three, 56-53, at 8:14. Down the stretch the Seahawks had an answer for every single Suffolk basket, but a trifecta by Unni at 4:01 kept Suffolk within striking distance.
Less than a minute later, Hagopian sunk a trey of his own and Suffolk took a 63-62 advantage. Seven straight Suffolk points put the visitors out in front, 69-64, but the Seahawks climbed back and tied it at 69-all with just 1:17 remaining.
A Boggs' layup put Salve Regina up 71-69 with 18 seconds left, but Unni responded with a layup with four seconds remaining to knot the contest at 71-71.
Foster called a timeout and drew up a play that the Seahawks executed perfectly as Hanson put in a layup as time expired for the 73-71 victory.
Suffolk returns to action Sunday, Nov. 29 at New England College at 1 p.m.